Few must go places in KAKACHI even if you are here for a day of two: |
1) Sites and sounds:
A) City of under passes and over head (from shara-e-fasil to Hulks bay)
B) Beaches (Hulks bay, sumine)
C) Islands (Manoa and one near Gavader)
A) Park towers
C) Tariq Road and Bahadrabad
D) Zamzama and Khada market
E) Zanib Market
3) Eating outs:
A) Super Highway
B) B B Q to night
C) Many at sea view (china town, village and usmania, Clifton Grill)
D) Many hang outs at Zamzama (chao, latitude, Nawab)
4) Hang outs:
A) Go Ash (Amusement park)
B) Area 51
C) Damascus (for shesha)
D) Water parks at Super Highway
5) Religious Places:
A) Churches, Mosques and Hindu temples
B) Tombs of Muslim and Hindu Saints
C) Chokandi`s grave yard
Azad Jammu & Kashmir
The main asset of the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir is their natural beauty - unfortunately, Pakistan's 16km (10mi) security zone means most of the truly scenic parts are now off limits. What's left is Neelum Valley, Jhelum Valley and forested highlands to the south.
However, even these areas may be out of bounds, depending on the fluctuating political climate; make sure to check restrictions before you travel.
There are flights daily from Islamabad into Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot. Crossings into Muzaffarabad by land are restricted to Bararkot in Manshera, or Kohala in Murree. You can enter Rawalakot by bus or wagon from Rawalpindi. Other more direct routes are off limits to foreigners as they run close to the government research centre in the Punjab.
Pakistan's commercial centre and largest city is a sprawling place of bazaars, hi-tech electronic shops, scurf-infested older buildings and modish new hotels. Its sights are spread far and wide, so a taxi or rickshaw is necessary to travel between them.
A good place to start is the Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleum, a monument to Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. More impressive is the white-marbled Defence Housing Society Mosque with its single dome, claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world. Above the mosque is the birthplace of the Aga Khan.
The capital of Punjab is Pakistan's cultural, educational and artistic centre, and easily the most visited city in the country. With its shady parks and gardens, its clash of Moghul and colonial architecture, and the exotic thrill of its congested streets and bazaars, it's not hard to see why.
A collection of some of the city's attractions include: The Mall, an area of parks and buildings with a decidedly British bent; Lahore Museum, the best and biggest in the country; Kim's Gun, the cannon immortalised in Kipling's classic Kim; Aitchison College, an achingly beautiful public school that boasts Imran Khan as a former pupil; Lahore Fort, filled with stately palaces, halls and gardens; and the Old City, where a procession of rickshaws, pony carts, hawkers and veiled women fill the narrow lanes.
The Northern Areas see few travellers, but those who brave the unruly terrain normally end up in Gilgit. There's not much in the city, save a bazaar that's full of Central Asian traders, but it's an excellent base for alpine walks, trout fishing and historical ruins in the countryside.
Baltistan, once an unexplored dead end, is now privvy to world-class mountaineering, fine treks and lovely scenery. More accessible and just as striking - check out the irrigated terraces rippling down the slopes - is the region of Hunza, Nagyr & Gojal towards the Chinese border.
Northwest Frontier Province
Most visits begin in Peshawar, the rough and ready provincial capital. The highlight here is the Old City - a brawl of vendors selling everything from tribal jewellery to leather pistol holsters, while clopping horse-drawn tongas choke the crowded streets.
Just outside Peshawar is the Smugglers Bazaar and it's definitely not what you'd expect: turbanned merchants in tents have been replaced by Westernised malls stocking the latest TVs, VCRs and refrigerators. There's even a shop flogging Marks & Spencer's merchandise.
Punjab is Pakistan's most fertile province, rich in both agriculture and ancient history. It's also one of the more stable of the country's regions, and travellers should have few of the problems that are faced further south and in the north.
The prosperous and hospitable town of Bahawalpur is a gentle introduction to the area. From here you can journey into Cholistan - a sandy wasteland dotted with nomadic communities and wind-swept forts - or the Lal Suhanra National Park, an important wildlife reserve.
The capital and only place of any size in the parched, barren province of Baluchistan may be light on ancient monuments but it's fit to bursting with a vigorous blend of peoples, wide tree-lined boulevards and sterling British architecture.
Even more compelling, Pakistan's fruitbowl has a dramatic setting, with a mountainous backdrop on all sides. Don't miss the impressive Archaeological Museum of Baluchistan, the fort or the city's many colourful bazaars - great places to pick up marble, onyx and the finest carpets in Pakistan.
The northern areas. Famous in mountaneering circles, but even ordinary people like you and me can enjoy trips "up north". One of the places I really want to see is the Deaosai plateau - the highest flat area of its size in the world.
If you're a wilderness nut and want to read more about the northern areas before travelling all the way there, check out the book "Where the Indus is Young - Walking to Baltistan" by Dervla Murphy. You could check Amazon or Barnes and Noble for it.
Catch a sight of the endangered blind Indus dolphin - its hearing has evolved to cope with the muddy/alluvial water of the Indus, and in the process its sight has 'atrophied'.
Visit the Derawar (Bahawalpur) and Rohtas (Grand Trunk road, near Dir) Forts.
Bhayya key kabaab! (Juicy "kebabs" in Model Town, Lahore)
The road from Quetta to Loralai! Hard to match that kind of majestic desolation.
If you're into culture and arts, Lahore is the place to be in spring (though, Karachi is not far behind with its concerts and film festival). The second week-end in February is the traditional kite-flying festival called "Basant", celebrated traditionally as the start of spring, but that has evolved in the last ten years into a month-long orgy of kite-fever and partying. The traditionalists hate it, but naturally, the city authorities love it. February and March are also the time when all the local colleges (and there are many, many of them) and theatre groups, both amateur and professional, put the great weather to use and stage their productions. For the same reason, it's when the annual Rafi Peer Theatre and Puppet Festival is held.